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Warm Lemon Pudding Cakes

Lemon lovers will rejoice as spoons plunge impulsively first into a light citrusy sponge, revealing a delicate pudding custard beneath...

My introduction to sponge pudding happened decades ago when I tasted a lovely dessert, these warm lemon pudding cakes, served surrounded by fresh berries. Because it was referred to as a ‘pudding’ my mind of course immediately went down the Jell-O rabbit hole. Not so…

The science behind this dessert is very similar to the science I detailed in my Magic Cake recipe. A few simple ingredients assembled in order, then baked. It’s that time spent in the oven, with the aid of a bain marie, where the layers then separate. So, not magic…

a ramekin filled with lemon pudding cake and being dusted with powdered sugar

For this, the loveliest among sweet ‘n tart desserts, you will need lemon juice and lemon zest from a single, large fresh lemon. This recipe also requires two extra large eggs at room temperature, the egg yolks and the egg whites separated.

Select pretty ramekins or high-sided custard cups to bake in. You will be eating all of this moist lemon cake directly out of whatever you bake in, so pick something pretty as well as oven proof.

Lemon Pudding Cake Ingredients

  • room temperature extra large eggs
  • granulated sugar
  • whole milk
  • all-purpose flour
  • lemon juice
  • lemon zest
  • Kosher salt

optional

  • unsalted butter for greasing the sides of the ramekins
  • thinly sliced fresh citrus
  • fresh berries such as blueberries, blackberries, or currants
  • Confectioners’ sugar
a hand arranging a lemon slice atop lemon pudding cake

How to Make These Cakes

Assemble a Bain Marie

These cakes rely on a method called a bain marie or water bath as they bake. For this, you will of course need four prepared ramekins, a clean dish cloth or towel, and a high-sided baking dish or roasting pan in which the ramekins will bake in the water bath.

I recommend assembling the components of the baking setup before you begin the recipe. Boil water in a kettle and have it ready to go, while placing the four individual ramekins inside the baking dish and atop the dish cloth to ensure they fit flat side by side. I’m using an 8 by 8-inch square cake pan with four 6-ounce ramekins.

Prepare Ramekins

So, you can do here as you wish in terms of prepping your ramekins. I am using brand new 6-ounce ramekins/custard cups so do not butter them or use any kind of nonstick cooking spray. You can have a gander at my photos and see that as my cakes baked, they naturally pulled away from the sides which is what you want.

If you will be working with vintage custard cups, bakeware in which foods tend to stick, or bakeware that does not have a glazed interior finish, then consider buttering or using nonstick spray.

Prepare Batter

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the room temperature egg whites in a medium bowl on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the room temperature egg yolks together with the sugar until grainy.

To the sugar mixture, add in the milk, flour, lemon juice, zest and salt beating until smooth. Gently fold half the egg whites into the lemon mixture until well incorporated followed by the remaining egg whites until just a few lumpy white streaks are visible.

ProTip: This mixture can be made up to 3 hours in advance, the egg whites whipped to stiff peaks and folded in just before baking.

Bake

Distribute the cake batter equally between the four prepared ramekins, setting each one down in what will become the hot water bath and atop a clean dish cloth or towel that can lie flat inside. Use a rubber spatula to scrape out all of the batter.

Transfer the pan to the oven rack (it helps to slide the rack out just enough for the kettle to pour accurately). Pour boiling water into the pan to a depth of 1-inch, careful not to pour water into any of the ramekins. Slide the rack back into the oven CAREFULLY.

Bake until the tops are golden brown and the cake has pulled away from the sides of the ramekins, about 45 minutes. Remove carefully (the bain marie makes the entire setup HEAVY and hot!) to clean counterspace and use a rubberized oven mitt or rubberized canning tongs to remove the little lemon pudding cakes from the hot water bath to a wire rack to cool.

Garnish

This oh-so-tangy dessert is deserved of something simple as garnish, whether that be fresh berries, thin slices of citrus, or simply a dusting of Confectioners’ sugar. I also think a dollop of freshly whipped cream could work nicely!

These tiny cakes can be refrigerated up to two days and enjoyed chilled or gently reheated.

Modifying the Norm to Make It Not Entirely Average

  • Use an alternate citrus fruit for a spin on this jazzy dessert. Think blood orange, Cara Cara, or Meyer lemons!
  • For a centerpiece dessert, and in lieu of individual desserts, bake in a 3-cup capacity baking dish until a knife inserted into the center pulls clean.
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Warm Lemon Pudding Cakes

Jenny from Not Entirely Average
Lemon lovers will rejoice as spoons plunge impulsively first into a light citrusy sponge, revealing a delicate pudding custard beneath…
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Servings: 4 cakes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 4 cakes
Calories 288 kcal

Equipment

  • 4 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups
  • dish cloth or towel
  • large roasting pan
  • electric mixer
  • mixing bowls

Ingredients
 

  • 2 extra large eggs room temperature; yolks and whites separated
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • lemon zest from 1 large fresh lemon
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 large fresh lemon
  • pinch Kosher salt

optional

  • unsalted butter for greasing the sides of the ramekins
  • lemon slices for garnish
  • Confectioners' sugar for garnish/serving
  • assorted fresh berries for garnish/serving

Instructions
 

  • Begin by assembling a bain marie or water bath in which the cakes will bake. Place a clean dish cloth or towel (this keeps the ramekins from moving around in the bath) in a large roasting pain or baking dish. Make sure all 4 ramekins will fit side by side in the pan and squarely on top of the dish cloth FLAT. Boil water in a tea kettle and have ready.
  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Butter or spray with cooking spray the bottoms and sides of the ramekins if desired. I am using new ramekins so elect not to butter, but if you will use vintage custard cups, bakeware in which foods tend to stick, or bakeware that does not have a glazed interior finish, then consider buttering or using nonstick spray.
  • Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the room temperature egg whites in a medium bowl on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In a separate bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the room temperature egg yolks together with the sugar until grainy.
  • To the sugar mixture, add in the milk, flour, lemon juice, zest and salt beating until smooth. Gently fold half the egg whites into the lemon mixture until well incorporated followed by the remaining egg whites until just a few lumpy white streaks are visible.
  • Distribute the cake batter equally between the four prepared ramekins, setting each one down in what will become the hot water bath and atop a clean dish cloth or towel that can lie flat inside. Use a rubber spatula to scrape out all of the batter.
  • Transfer the pan to the oven rack (it helps to slide the rack out just enough for the kettle). Pour boiling water into the pan to a depth of 1-inch, careful not to pour water into any of the ramekins. Slide the rack back into the oven CAREFULLY.
  • Bake until the tops are golden brown and the cake has pulled away from the sides of the ramekins, about 45 minutes. Remove carefully (the bain marie makes the entire setup HEAVY and hot!) to clean counterspace and use a rubberized oven mitt or rubberized canning tongs to remove the little lemon pudding cakes from the hot water bath to a wire rack to cool.
  • Garnish with fresh berries, lemon slices, or a dusting of Confectioners' sugar.

Notes

Please Note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not use table salt or iodized salt in any of the recipes you find on Not Entirely Average UNLESS specified otherwise.
Make Ahead: the lemon mixture may be made up to 3 hours in advance, the egg whites whipped to stiff peaks and folded in just before baking.
Leftovers: the cakes can be refrigerated for up to two days and enjoyed chilled or gently reheated. To Reheat place in microwave for 35 to 45 seconds until luke warm.
Modifications:
  • use an alternate citrus fruit in place of lemon such as blood orange, Cara Cara, or Meyer lemon in equal measure.
  • in lieu of individual desserts, bake in a 3-cup capacity baking dish until a knife inserted into the center pulls clean.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cakeCalories: 288kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 6gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 56mgPotassium: 124mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 52gVitamin A: 218IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 68mgIron: 1mg
Keyword lemon, lemon cake, pudding cake, souffle
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!
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